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    Macalester College
  Jan 16, 2018
College Catalog 2017-2018

ANTH 252 - Photography: Theories and Practices of an International Medium

Cross-Listed as INTL 252  and MCST 252  
This course examines histories, theories and practices of photography, a medium that has transformed significantly since the daguerrotypes of the mid 19th century.  In 1839, Daguerre’s invention was presented as “a free gift to the world.”  This course will look at how that gift has been put to use in photographic cultures around the world in contexts as diverse as portrait studios in Yogyakarta, a history museum in Vietnam, French advertising, Soviet family albums and news imagery circulating worldwide. While we will pay careful attention to visual aesthetics, we will focus on photography as a documentary genre that has long been central to how individuals imagine the world beyond their experience. We will also be considering personal photographic archives such as family albums and scrapbooks and asking when private photographs become public representations.  One central feature of the course will be learning about how scholars have thought about and through photography and discussing the complications of applying these theories transhistorically and cross-culturally.  (Berger, Barthes, Benjamin, Sontag, Sekula, Strassler, Pinney, Tagg, Azoulay) Topics for discussion include debates around truth in photography and the politics of representation, photography’s relationship to history and changing institutional uses of photography, as well as different photographic cultures and their anthropological and sociological significance. Every year. (4 Credits)